…I would wish for organizations and leaders everywhere to seek to know their truth and be bold and courageous enough to live it.
I’ve witnessed the power of “knowing and living your truth” both in my own life experiences as well as with my clients in theirs. To me, it’s the difference between living an ordinary versus an extraordinary life. Between sleep walking through your life versus tapping into your most full, amazing self and unleashing your gifts in the world.
My “one wish” reflects the essence of how I most want to live my life and help others live theirs. I like the image of water and stepping stones to describe it.
Water represents two things as a constant…
Presence: You can’t seek to know and live your truth if you’re not paying attention. If you’re caught up in all the stuff of life and not noticing, you’re gonna miss it. And I get it, lives are full. Reeeally full. The aim is to “do” your rich, robust life while slowing the pace enough to “be” and focus your attention. It’s both challenging and possible, requiring some serious, conscious choice making, not to mention loads of courage.
Knowing and Loving Yourself: You’ve got to care…about you. YOU have to matter to you. Ground zero in knowing yourself and knowing your truth is first loving yourself (and for organizations, it’s about loving the “entity” as a living breathing organism…its people, mission, purpose, its reason for being).
Next, the stones represent…
a progression of steps I believe are present on the pathway to knowing and ultimately living your truth – what I call the “truth journey.”
- Presenting moment: First, there’s a trigger – an event or situation that swings a person’s or an organization’s pendulum to either dissonance (things like exhaustion, burn-out, hopelessness, crisis, failure, conflict) or resonance (imagine ease, energy, joy, excitement, thriving). You have this experience, and your emotions get stirred, often strongly. Accompanying this moment, is an internal sensation – I’ve experienced it as unsettledness, restlessness, a stirring, or insatiable yearning. And like a nagging 3-year-old, it just won’t go away until I address it head on.
- Stillness: Regardless of whether the experience is positive or negative, it’s important to stop and “sit with it.” If it’s particularly challenging, our tendency is to push it away, busy ourselves, or pretend altogether that it doesn’t exist. Resist the urge! It sounds counterintuitive to say “C’mon! Pull up a chair and sit with that misery for a while!” But it really is important to do just that – to stop, get quiet, be with what you’re sensing and thinking, and reflect, “What is this ‘thing’ trying to communicate to me? What knowledge and information can I get from it?”
- Clarity: In this pause and inquiry of the stillness, the answers could come quickly, almost instantly, or it could take days, weeks, months, even. I promise, there’ll come a time of greater clarity when the knowing appears – it might arrive with gusto like an ah-ha or break through, or it can come almost unnoticed as the slightest movement like a cloud floating by. You’ll know it when you sense a shift inside you – the dots connect, suddenly things make sense, or you might feel an ease, a lightness, or a rise in your energy.
- Choice: Next comes the most pivotal point in the process – you arrive at a choice point. Let’s say you’ve been frustrated in your job for a while. You haven’t been happy for a long time, maybe never. You’re burned out, exhausted, and feeling empty. Then comes the “event” that causes you to burst, “I’ve had it! I’m done!” And here you are…hello choice. You start contemplating your situation and exploring options. Often what happens here is we do what’s easy and take the path of least resistance: we stay, we tolerate, we settle, we endure. It’s here that I stand the firmest (and most compassionate) with my clients, because I can see what they can’t – their gifts, potential, resources, and courage (even if only a glimmer). I help them consider choices that empower, harness their strengths, and connect them to their passion.
- Action: In my opinion, the most important consideration here is that your actions align with your values and what most fulfills you. One of the perils that gets in the way of action is living in the place of “should.” With the job example above…“I should stay. After all, people are counting on me, proving my loyalty is important, it might get better…” If you’re an organization considering these steps, it might sound like “We should continue this program. We’ve been delivering it for 20 years, and a lot of people count on us. The program may be making little revenue and have ‘run its course,’ but there would be a public outcry if we stopped.” To take action, first tune into your “why,” your purpose, to what calls to you and lights you up. From there, make your plan and work your plan.
- Live: Once in action, live fully into the choice you’ve made and the path forward…no second guessing, no wondering if you did the right thing. Bravely, boldly go! As an individual, of course there’ll be personal check-ins, and you’ll continue to reflect and refine your path forward. As an organization, there will be assessment, evaluation, and measuring progress. That’s simply being smart and responsible. Lastly, remember that you are surrounded with resources you can leverage wisely: people, time, money, as well as practices like self-care, meditation, good nutrition, and fitness.
Hi, I’m Jeanie Duncan. I work with individuals and organizations as a transformation partner to help them unlock their Truth, discover authentic value, and create meaningful impact in the world. I believe when we are truly aligned with our purpose, we can live and perform at our highest potential. With over 25 years of experience as an executive, CEO, consultant, and coach, I offer strategic, knowledgeable, and experienced guidance for those who are ready to take the courageous leap toward true transformation.